Psalm 102: 1-2 NSRV
Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call.
Mark 14: 22-25 NSRV
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take, this is my body.” Then he took the cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”
Today is Maundy Thursday! On this day, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, introduced the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and gave us a new Commandment – that we love one another, just as He has loved us (John 13:34). We remember that the name Maundy Thursday is derived from the Latin word for this Mandate from Jesus.
Although a lot happened on Maundy Thursday, it doesn’t often break into our national consciousness. In some countries it’s celebrated a bit more. For example, it’s a public holiday in Costa Rica, Norway, Denmark, and parts of Spain, to name just a few. In Sweden, kids get dressed up in costumes and go door-to-door asking for candy, much like what our kids do for Halloween here at home.
And yet, the fact is that Maundy Thursday is an important gift from God. In it, Jesus offers a response to the Psalmist’s prayer for God to not “Hide your face from me in the day of my distress.” By the simple act of washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus shows us how to be humble in service to others. By giving us a new Commandment, Jesus points out how to show hospitality to all people, by loving ourselves, and by loving one another. In God’s gift of Holy Communion, He shows unconditional love for all of us; we need no longer fear that God will not respond to our prayers. The Psalmist’s answer is found in God’s act of love on the cross the very next day.
Lord, we give thanks for showing us how to serve and how to love others. We remember your sacrifice on the cross, which shows us we need not fear that you will ignore our prayers. Amen.